- 11 Feb 10
What the continued presence of the Angelus on our airwaves says about secularism in modern Ireland...
Every day, twice daily, even the most pressing news and discussions are suspended while the Angelus bell tolls on RTE. On one level, it’s an engaging and vaguely sentimental reference back to a time when most people believed the same things and all were within earshot of a church bell or, further east, a minaret. But on another level, and specifically in an Irish context, it’s a bit problematic.
Why? Well, because it’s a Catholic thing. Its original adoption by the then national broadcaster was of a piece with the theocratic culture of the time in Ireland. Think mullahs and imams, think Taliban. And the bells were theirs.
Unionists didn’t have to waste too much time or energy proving that Home Rule was Rome Rule. Everything about the Free State and its successor, the republic known as Ireland, made their point for them, bells and whistles and all.